Marine charged after 2 soldiers killed in NC military vehicle crash

ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. — Two Marines were killed and 17 others were injured -- two critically -- after a rollover crash involving a military vehicle in North Carolina on Wednesday.

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Troopers with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol confirmed there were two deaths during a news conference held around 4:40 p.m., WNCT-TV reported. Officials also said two other Marines were airlifted by helicopter to an area hospital.

Update 7:59 p.m. EST Jan. 19: A Marine from Tennessee has been charged after he was driving a military vehicle that crashed and killed two other Marines, authorities said.

Louis Barrera, 19, of Springfield, was charged with one count of exceeding a safe speed and two counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, WCTI-TV reported.

According to a news release, the names of the deceased are being withheld until 24 hours after the notification of next of kin. They were pronounced dead at the scene. The names of the injured soldiers are being withheld in accordance with privacy regulations, the release stated.

According to the release, 15 soldiers were transported to Camp Lejeune’s Naval Medical Center and were listed in stable condition. Two soldiers were transported to a hospital in Wilmington, North Carolina, where they were listed in critical condition.

Original report: The crash happened at about 1 p.m. EST between Verona and Holly Ridge in Onslow County, WITN-TV reported, citing an anonymous source.

In a tweet, the 2nd Marine Logistics Group said the agency was aware of the vehicle rollover and confirmed “multiple casualties.”

The Marines involved in the crash are assigned to the 2nd Marines Logistics Group, which is based at Camp Lejeune, WITN reported. There were 19 Marines inside the truck.

Sgt. Devin Rich with the Highway Patrol said the Marine seven-ton truck was making a right turn onto U.S. 17, lost control, and overturned, the television station reported. The Marines were thrown from the truck.

Rich told reporters that the Marines will be investigating how fast the truck was going, “but we do know it was a little too fast for the right turn.”

An official from Camp Lejeune confirmed fire and emergency services from the camp were also at the scene, WNCT reported. Traffic was backed up and was being diverted as crews continued to work at the site of the crash.